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Patty Ramey paints at Artists on Santa Fe Gallery and Studios

Kissing couple at Huckleberry Roasters in Sunnyside

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Bikes abound at Colorado Cycling Connection in LoHi

Innovation & Job News

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Cameras rolling for One Day in Denver on April 26

What do you want to say about Denver? What do you want people to know about Denver and what’s great or not so great here? That’s the focus of One Day in Denver, the local version of One Day on Earth's latest project, encouraging people to go out and film their cities and focus on the issues they think are important.

The project, which is taking place in 11 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles, will ultimately result in a three-part television series that will air on CPT 12 PBS locally, explains Kristin Nolan, the local producer for project. Nolan also produces the Starz Denver Film Festival and other projects in the city.

Nolan anticipates that roughly 200 films will be submitted locally. Some of them will be raw footage while others will be edited. Ultimately, they’ll become part of the larger project. "They'll be culled through and pieces to help highlight storylines will be pulled out and really speak to the overarching themes behind the event, which are: Where are we now? What do we appreciate? Why do we live in cities? What are some of the issues that we face living in cities? What are some resolutions to those issues that we’re looking at? All of those items will be highlighted in that series across the three parts."

"All of the participants, filmmakers, organizations, individuals are creating pages within our website and it's very much a social website, an interactive geotagged website where everyone can say:, 'Hey, here's who I am, here's what I do. Here's how you can engage with my work and here's what I’m bringing to the table for One Day in Denver." The site also features an interactive map with links to the other participating cities.

It's been a changing experience for Nolan. "I've sensed Denver in a way that I never have before and learned so very much about organizations and the passions and individuals," she says. "Other people can have that experience as they move through the map."

Videos must be filmed on April 26 and submitted by May 26. "If someone wants to do an edited piece I’d recommend one to four minutes," Nolan says. "Something dynamic that's digestible." Those uploading raw footage can upload more than one piece, but each is limited to 500 megabytes.

You can register to participate in the project here. Nolan is hosting an event April 17 at SPACE Gallery at 400 Santa Fe Dr. from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss the project and answer questions.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Buy your car's fuel up front with Autowatts

Autowatts, a startup with roots in Denver, will soon start offering electric vehicle (EV) buyers a chance to purchase all the energy their vehicle will ever need when they buy their vehicle by financing a solar rooftop for EV owners.

"The premise of what Autowatts is doing is paring the purchase of a fuel supply with an electric vehicle," says Founder Alex Tiller, also CEO of solar installer Sunetric, which was recently purchased by RGS Energy. "This has never been possible in history, really."

Tiller explains that previously the size of the EV market, the vehicle's battery technology and the cost of photovoltaics were all factors that made creating this type of product offering difficult, it not economically feasible, but that's changed. "We're at a point in time now where essentially a buyer can prepay all the transportation fuel in one fell swoop and they can actually finance it," Tiller says.

"If you use a renewable energy system to offset your transportation miles, you are competing with oil," Tiller explains. "We know that in markets where oil creates the electrons, oil gets its butt kicked by solar." In Hawaii, where Sunetric is headquartered, just such a situation has played out, because most of the island state's electricity currently comes from oil or diesel-fired generators, which is more expensive than solar power. "You can get as little as a four-year payback on a residential solar system in the Hawaii market," Tiller explains.

To put it another way; "Imagine if you're going to buy a new car. If the car salesman offered at that time, 'Hey, for an extra $10,000, would you like to pay for all the gasoline you're ever going to need for this car, and for your next five cars, and I can finance it and that monthly payment is less than you would be spending on gasoline.' Most would say, 'yes,'" Tiller contends.

The solar array may not directly feed the vehicle but with an EV it helps simplify owners' energy costs. "The electrons get commingled in the house. It's not like the power system goes straight into your car. Your home is a small load system and we put the solar on the house." When most homeowners with EVs are at work, the system will produce power they can net meter, or sell energy back to the grid. Then when the homeowner comes home, they can charge their vehicle at home.

Another option, which will likely occur in the future as battery costs continue to come down, is actually storing the solar energy in batteries at the home until the homeowner comes home to charge their EV up. As of 2014, however, battery technology is generally still too expensive to justify the expense, though Tiller sees that changing.

Autowatts completed its first beta in Hawaii where Sunetric is headquartered. "We're still a very early technology. We are in a beta mode right now," Tiller explains. While he was tight-lipped on the launch strategy, he says the company will roll out the new version in some markets before the end of 2014.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

TurboVote growing in Denver

Democracy WorksTurboVote tool aims to make it easier for people across the U.S. to vote.

"If you take a national view of things, there's an election somewhere in America every Tuesday all year every year. says Wes Morgan, Chief Technical Officer of Democracy Works, which makes TurboVote. We're trying to get people to vote in those as often as in the presidential elections."

People across the country can register at the non-partisan site and it allows people to download and print voting forms for their jurisdiction, and people can also pay a small fee to have the organization mail the documents. "We have people who work day in and day out to make sure it does the right thing for people no matter what kind of election jurisdiction they happen to be in," Morgan states.

The non-profit parent organization is headquartered in New York City, but it opened up a second office in Denver after hiring Morgan in 2011. He began working for the organization at home part-time, then went full-time in 2012.

"Fast-forward to today there are five of us now," says Morgan. "We have a suite in the coworking space at 15th and Blake in LoDo and we love it. One of the people here was given the choice between here and Brooklyn and said they would much rather be in the Denver office."

"One of the big things we push is voting by mail," Morgan says. "We see that as like a convenience factor. It's a way of meeting people where they live in the 21st century and voting on your couch with a laptop to research candidates and the issues. We think it’s a lot better than standing in a long line at the polling place then having a few minutes in the booth."

To help expand the reach of voters, the organization also is partnering with other organizations, colleges and universities, which align with the emphasis on voting by mail, according to Morgan. "Generally at any school, a significant portion of the students need to vote by mail," he contends.

As partners, the schools can pay for TurboVote's services and help students use the service with no costs. "When we partner with these schools we also work with them to help them role out best practices for getting the most of those people registered to vote, getting them to vote and voting in every election possible," he says. To help with those efforts, TurboVote can send texts and emails to voters that sign up at the site.

"We're starting to partner with election authorities," Morgan says. "One of the things we're working on is a ballot-tracking tool so that when people do vote by mail they can have some insight as to where it is throughout the mail system."

The organization has more plans to make it easier to vote. "We’re actively going out there to partner with organizations and eventually we’re going to do a big push on opening up the APIs and open-sourcing our code, allowing others to incorporate this stuff into other projects," Morgan says.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Shaking up the work week with Artifact Uprising

People get stuck in the nine-to-five work week pretty quickly and if you’re working at a fast-growing startup that can turn into round-the-clock if you’re not careful. That's what happened at Artifact Uprising, which turns digital photos into books and other forms of memorabilia. The company founders often started working at 4:30 a.m. to get ahead of all the distractions.

"Something needed to change," says Artifact Uprising’s COO Jess Lybeck. So in April the company decided to do something about falling into that sometimes stifling drudgery by experiment with a six-hour workday. A lot of the experiment is based on theories presented in The 4-Hour Workweek, she says.

"We're trying to inspire in ourselves and other people to get out there and document their lives and live a great life, and we wanted to make some time to do that," Lybeck explains.

"The biggest distractor we found as a team was sort of the constant interruptions from other team members and quick questions and impromptu meetings and scheduling a lot of meetings and tons of emails sent back and forth," Lybeck says. "I think the biggest release that we've seen thus far is reducing the numbers of distractions during the day."

That's at the heart of the new work schedule, which splits the day into three distinct parts. From 9 to 11 a.m., employees focus on their work avoiding distractions -- particularly from coworkers, including impromptu meetings and emails. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ,employees have more open time to talk with each other, schedule meetings and have lunch. And from 1 to 3 p.m in the afternoon they have another "heads-down" period, Lybeck says.

"It’s helping a ton," Lybeck contends. "So much to the point where its sort of like I’ve been complaining that I don't have enough time and now that I have time, I don't know what to do with all of that great amount of space.”

It's also helped with creativity on the job, she adds. "In the first three days I’ve more time to think big and be creative than I have in the last couple months. I think it has a lot to do with making the space for that."

The additional free time is also allowing team members to enjoy the day more. "I've taken some long walks with my dog and other members of the team have gone to the museum at three o’clock…or go on mountain biking trips with friends," Lybeck says. "I think it's interesting to see what each employee and each team member is gravitating towards."

The experiment is still in its infancy but Lybeck thinks at least elements of it will stay with the company. To see how comfortable the team is with it, the company is conducting daily surveys to see if staffers feel overwhelmed or happy about the new schedule.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

2014 Denver Digital Health Summit offers innovation opportunities

On Tues. April 8, the PrIME Health Collaborative will host the 2014 Denver Digital Health Summit in South Denver at the Lone Tree Arts Center where companies and innovators from Denver and Colorado will converge to address how the digital world can help the healthcare industry. The keynotes at the event include presentations from Denver-based iTriage as well as from WellTok and IBM Watson.

Overall the event will have more than 200attendees and feature 30 panelists addressing issues facing the healthcare industry today and how the digital world can address those issues with innovations including telehealth, applications and other digital health products.

The event is sponsored by Aetna, featuring a keynote titled "Innovation in Action" from Michael Palmer, Aetna Innovation Labs’ chief innovation and digital officer. Overall, the summit will have a heavy focus on innovation with roughly 25 exhibitor booths. Companies exhibiting at the event will showcase emerging technologies focussed on the field of digital health from throughout, including mobile apps, big data and analytics, enterprise health IT systems, telehealth and telemedicine.

Denver-based iTriage CEO and Co-Founder Peter Hudson, M.D. will present a keynote speech: “Building A Consumer Healthcare Company." iTriage is a mobile device app that helps people make more informed decisions about their healthcare and what actions to take when faced with a medical issue. The company’s site boasts that it’s been downloaded more than 10 million times by consumers.

WellTok COO Jason Kellor will be joined by IBM Watson Group’s Dhruv Jaggia to co-present a keynote called "CaféWell Concierge: IBM Watson + WellTok." WellTok, which bills itself as a social health management company, offers CaféWell, a wellness awards program that rewards participants for engaging in healthy behavior.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Auckland Outdoors sets out to become the Airbnb of camping gear

Want to go camping for a weekend but don't have the gear or don't know where to go? Check out the recently launched Auckland Outdoors. The company offers competitively priced rentals ($8 a day for backpack, sleeping bag and tent) but it’s also designed as a peer-to-peer rental site, kind of like the Airbnb or Couchsurfing version of the outdoors. It's likely the first company to offer such services for camping.

So if you're traveling to Denver -- or live in Denver -- you can check out what’s available to rent, not just from Auckland Outdoors, but also from others who have registered to offer their gear, be it a camp stove, disc golf set, snowshoes or gaiters from the company's site Outdoors.io. Already about 150 people -- mainly from Denver but also San Francisco and other cities -- have signed up to either offer their gear or to rent gear from the company and others on the site, says Founder Rob Auston.

"Ultimately our mission is to make it easier for people to have outdoor experiences," Auston explains. "Who we’re really targeting is kind of that person that moved out here for the lifestyle…and they quickly find out that if I go spend $2,000 on a road bike I'm now limited to the other opportunities I can do because I can't afford to buy the gear."

He adds, "Sometimes not just about the cost, it's about the space. Living downtown in a 500-square-foot space. I just don’t have the space for all my gear."

The core of the site is now focused around the gear. But Auston observes that there are other important components to the outdoor experience. "There’s the community piece: 'Who can I do this with?' And the discovery piece, you know: 'Where can I go camping?' But right now our focus is just on the foundational piece, let's get that right and let's try and unlock all this gear that sits idle in people's closets most of the year,” he says. "We're starting to build some features around community and discovery aspects."

Auckland Outdoors, named after Auston’s experience in New Zealand, also has a bunch of the basic gear available for rental. "Eddie Bauer gave us $10,000 in camping gear. So we've got tents, sleeping bags, backpacks all ready for people to rent," he says. At this point all of that gear is still virgin -- after all, camping season in Colorado doesn't really get underway until May.

Whether you're a renter or a gear junky who wants to rent out gear when you’re not using it, you can register at the site for free. If you've got gear to rent, Auston says the process is pretty easy. "You can take a picture of whatever the gear is and put in the price you want and add a description," he explains. The gear owner can accept or reject requests and can set up a meeting place. Transactions are handled through Auckland Outdoors, which takes a 15 percent transaction fee.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Caveman Cafeteria evolves Paleo dieting

Caveman Cafeteria has neither a cave or a physical cafeteria, yet this Denver-based Paleo-food service has already evolved significantly. The company, which provides catering services, has gone from a food truck in 2012 to a spot on the the 16th Street Mall to a mail-order delivery food service. It might just be the first business to offer shipped meals adhering to the popular Paleo diet.

"We're going to be the first company that’s going to really introduce people to what I consider a simplified healthy lifestyle that I don’t think that a lot of people have really quite grasped," says Founder Will White.

The company began shipping its prepared meals in January 2014 via FedEx. Already they have more than 200 clients across 12 states. Local customers can pick up their meals at a number of CrossFit or other locations in Boulder, Denver and Littleton.

White started Caveman Cafeteria after leaving the Army. "We are basically expanding this model here in Denver for our national headquarters,” he says. This year, among other places, he plans to move into the California market.

White was already in Colorado when he left the Army and decided it was the ideal location to start a food company. "I loved the city," he says. "I knew I would love living here. Then also there's just the track record of so many successful startups and especially food brand startups coming out of Denver that I felt that there’s just got to be something right here."

The company has been growing and hiring. "We just hired a part-time delivery driver," White says. That's in addition to a full-time chef they hired about four months ago. In all, the company has about five full-time employees and three part-time employees now and White says they're likely to hire about five more employees in the coming months.

The company's meal plans start at $549 for 10 meals a week over four weeks (40 total) with a recurring payment system. For that customers get delicious, Paleo-inspiried meals. "Our philosophy's really simple," White explains. "We just basically do everything Paleo by default in the sense that there's no processed oils ever, no added sugars and there's no grain in anything. That's kind of the main thrust of Paleo right there -- those three things."

The growth of the meal plan business has pulled away from its catering business, White says. Still they cater at offices, weddings and other special events like Paleo food and nutrition seminars. "Since we started out with the meal service, we're more selective with that now but we still love to do our catering which is $25 per person for office catering."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

NAMJet moves operations to Denver

NAMJet, a manufacturer of marine propulsion systems -- think boat motors -- and Denver announced that the company will relocate both its headquarters and manufacturing operations from Arkansas to a 50,000-square-foot facility at 4959 Kingston St. in northeast Denver. The move is predicated by a $250 million contract with the U.S. Army for nearly 400 Bridge Erecting Boats (BEBs).

The relocation will create about 63 jobs in Denver as well as a $4 million capital investment from the company.

Under the new contract New Orleans-based Bidron Americas, a sister company to NAMJet, and fellow subsidiary of Australia's Bidron, the companies will replace the entire fleet of BEBs for the Army in coming years. The new BEBs are 23-foot boats powered by dual 250-horsepower (hp) Cummins engines mated to NAMJet Traktor Jet 381 HH’s.

"Denver is well known for its thriving tourism sector and quality of life, but it is also emerging as a global leader in manufacturing and export operations," said Jim Ducker, General Manager at NAMJet. "The city's exceptional labor force and business-friendly environment provide us unparalleled opportunities for growth, and we've been welcomed with open arms by the entire community."

"Denver is growing as a manufacturing hub for high-growth industries," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. Denver's Office of Economic Development (OED) is supporting the company's move with incentives including a reimbursement for its corporate relocation and start-up expenses through the city's Business Incentive Fund. Denver's Business Investment Program will provide business personal property tax credits. The firm will make an estimated capital investment of $4 million at its 50,000-square foot leased site at in northeast Denver.

The BEBs usually provide propulsion and maneuverable thrust to support temporary floating bridges but are also used in ferry configurations to transport equipment supplies and troops, and to tow other BEBs, according to NAMJet. The vessels are transportable via road, rail and air, and are often used when existing bridge crossings have been destroyed in military conflict or other events like flooding.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Choozle, marketing platform for all, boogies out of beta at Prost Brewing

Choozle is launching out of its beta phase with a party at Prost Brewing on March 20. The company’s marketing platform harnesses the power of "big data" for the rest of us. 

"There are tons of very powerful players that play in the high end [of software marketing platforms] and what we wanted to do is really simplify the ad-tech stack for everyone," explains company Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Fischer. "Even if you're a small or medium-sized marketer or independent agency you don’t have to go out and basically contract a data management platform. It can be very expensive, very time-consuming and very confusing."

Choozle, according to Fischer, allows companies to harness big data to better understand the demographics of people visiting their sites, including information on age, location and what people are shopping for, and it helps its subscribers dig into to the data to better target the audiences appropriately. "The bottom line is we're making it easier, simpler and more cost-effective for marketers to use online advertising technology and we put it into one simple easy-to-use platform," he contends.

"The whole idea is to create from end-to-end a simple platform a much lower cost," Fischer says. He calls Choozle a disrupting platform in the marketing space. "Because that’s a big, expensive piece of technology that traditionally that costs tens of thousands of dollars. You have to go to Oracle or big players. We're able to offer it starting at $199 a month."

Choozle was launched to offer an alternative to big data management systems like those offered by Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce.com, Fischer says. "Marketing is kind of one of the last bastions where all the big players are assembling a tech stack. They've bought tons of different types of marketing software across the spectrum over the last 10 years, including everything from email marketing automation, to social media management, to display advertising."

Before going commercial Choozle tested the platform with roughly 20 beta testers -- among them Dick's Sporting Goods, Merriam-Webster, EVOL Foods and more. "All of our test partners are converting into pay members. We are now generating revenue with the new platform," Fischer says.

Choozle also is seeing a lot of interest from other companies. "We're working with local companies and national brands," Fischer says. "The interest in the product have been extremely high, which is exciting."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Calling all kiosks: Downtown Denver Partnership seeks summer vendors

For those interested in operating one of the kiosks gracing the midst of the 16th Street Mall, now's your chance. The Downtown Denver Partnership is holding a "Marketplace on the Mall" informational meeting March 18 from 6 to 7 p.m. about applying as a vendor for the summer 2014 season.

The marketplace program is managed by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID) and is focused largely on three types of vendors: food vending; merchandisers and retail sales and experiential vendors. The latter category is the broadest and includes caricatures, portraits, henna tattoos, face painting, flowers and other entertainment vendors.

The overarching theme of the session will be on food vending, but the session will also discuss the long-term vision for vending on the mall and will discuss other options as well, particularly related to increasing the experiential opportunities on the mall.

"We want to create more fun on the mall, more a-ha moments," explains Downtown Denver Partnership 16th Street Marketplace Manager Cord Rauba. "We talk all the time about how do we support creative talent downtown? How do we make them want to be here?"

The current fee schedule will be discussed at the session -- and prices won't be rising, Rauba says. "We are looking to make the fee schedule for artists more flexible," she adds.

Overall, between 20 and 40 vendors operate on the 16th Street Mall throughout the year and the BID is looking for more. "The goal is to continue to add more quality, unique and diverse local businesses to the mix," according to the BID's informational materials. "While numerous opportunities exist, strong efforts are taken not to duplicate uses and product."

"We will be doing some new stuff with the vendors, like clustering them in groups on the mall," says Downtown Denver Partnership spokesperson Jenny Starkey. "There are obviously vendors all along the mall, but we're looking at innovative strategies to bring more people to the mall."

Merchandisers must use Retail Merchandising Units (RMUs) provided by the BID. In all, there are eight units to rent out and vendors must be between Welton Street and California Street. They can operate between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday to Saturday from May through October. In addition to the retail units, however, BID owns four enclosed kiosks, one of which is an information center, while vendors can apply to use the others.

To get a better idea of what is currently on the mall check out the current food vending and retail map. To learn more about the vendor meeting on March 18, email info@downtowndenver.com.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

SquareHire gives smaller companies a leg up on hiring

Applicant tracking systems allow companies to harness the full-power of the Internet to search for job applicants across the nation. They're behind the job search engines like Monster and CareerBuilder, but such systems are primarily geared towards large employers and listings for individual positions are costly at about $400 a piece. Enter SquareHire, a software-as-a-service application for the little guy on the grow that launched in February.

"I'm focused exclusively on companies with fewer than 100 companies," says SquareHIre Founder Rudy Lacovara. “A lot of people will come to the market and will see that you can make money quickly by targeting your services to recruiters or adding features for larger companies that really aren't appropriate to companies with companies fewer than 50 employees or even fewer than 100 employees."

"I really think that the Internet and the connected market we’re in today kind of democratizes things I think hiring is an exception," Lacovara says. "I think hiring has gotten harder for your average small company. I think they had a much easier time when they could put an ad in a local newspaper."

"It’s not like that anymore. If a small company wants to reach 90 percent of the job seekers in a market they have to use five different job boards or social networks," Lacovara asserts. "To make matter worse…small guys end up paying more to post on those job boards.…They're probably going to pay four times the amount that IBM does to put ads on that same job board."

A large company like IBM is making enough hires on an annual basis that it negotiate posting prices with Monster, he says, but a small employer may only hire one or two people a year, making each post more expensive. "We sell Monster ads to SquareHire customers for $149 for a 60-day listing."

Lacovara explains that the tools provided by SquareHire are geared to meet smaller businesses needs. The tools offered through the company do three essential things: gives a company a hosted career page on their site; publishes job postings to free job boards; and offers applicant tracking. The tracking inputs applicants' input to a permanent database that allows users to rate applicants, review their resumes and other common tasks to the hiring process. Plans are available for free and run up to $99 a month.

The service was previously known as HireFlo but relaunched as SquareHire with more targeted tools, according to Lacovara and it’s retained many of those clients.

"Right now we've got just under 800 companies," he says. He expects the company to grow in 2014, which may require additional staff in customer service and marketing to start. He adds that right now he's the company's only full-time employee.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com. 

Jake Norris' Operation Gargoyle unveiled as Laws Whiskey House

"You guys are the first people outside the distillery to drink the whiskey and the first outside the distillery to hear the name," says Jake Norris speaking during the DSTILL Whiskey Workshop at Ste. Ellie on the night of March 12.

Norris, first Head Distiller at Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, left Stranahan's in 2011. Since then he, investor and owner Alan Laws, and the team of Stephen Julander, Alex Alexander and Jason Manna have been operating under the guise of Operation Gargoyle as Norris says, "To ward off evil spirits."

"The name of the distillery is Laws Whiskey House," Norris says. He explains, "It's the last name of Al Laws, the extraordinarily passionate person that gave me the opportunity to make whiskey. The name of the whiskey is A.D. Laws Four-Grain Bourbon."

Four-grain bourbons, which contain a blend of corn, rye, barley and wheat, are particularly difficult to make, according to Norris. He only knows of one other distillery that is making it, Tuthilltown Spirits out of Gardiner, N.Y., makers of Hudson Whiskeys. Tuthilltown distiller and brand ambassador Gable Erenzo, was also at the event.

The new whiskey isn't ready for public release -- yet. "We're going to release the whiskey sometime late summer," Norris explains. "I'm expecting that rye note to get a certain tone. It's going to manifest itself in a very particular way at which point we will release the whiskey."

Still, it's already a lovely -- if young -- whiskey with a taste that lingers on the tongue. It reveals itself in complex notes tinged with toffee and already hints of the spicy rye notes that Norris anticipates will soon increase their presence in the liquor.

Norris has kept the project largely under wraps for a while now, but insists it was partly for the purity of the project. "It was about doing this right from the beginning. Zero compromise, zero cheating and lying, we had nothing to hide," he says. "Everything we do is completely honest, completely above board, no sourcing no NGS [i.e., neutral grain spirits], no buying other people's shit and labeling it."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com. 

Andrew Hudson's Career Bootcamps help job seekers and career changers

Looking for a job in Denver? Looking to change careers or returning to the workforce after a hiatus? Check out one of Andrew Hudson’s upcoming Career Bootcamps. Hudson, who runs the eponymous site, Andrew Hudson's Jobs List, and the career bootcamps, is holding four three-hour sessions throughout March, starting on March 18. Hudson is no stranger to the bootcamps or the career list. He's been running a jobs website in Denver (originally www.prjobslist.com) since 2005. Today the jobs list sends a newsletter and updated list of positions -- over 1,000 professional positions in Colorado a month -- to subscribers every Monday.

While Hudson isn’t a corporate headhunter or jobs placement agent, he's dedicated a lot of time to helping others find jobs, including holding between 40 and 50 career bootcamps annually. "I've done this for a seven years. I've had about 600 or 700 go through the bootcamps," he says.

The career bootcamps, which cost $175, are often attended by mid-or senior level professionals, according to Hudson. "They come for a variety of reasons, they may hate their boss, or are looking to reinvent themselves." He adds that some may be returning to the workforce after an absence as a stay-at-home parent or because of the recession.

"The common thread, no matter why people are looking for a job…is they haven’t had to do it for a while and the rules have changed dramatically," he contends. He attributes at least part of that the uprise of online job search giants like Monster.com.

Hudson limits the bootcamps to 10 people. "The reason I do it the small-group dynamic is easier to manage and more people are willing to engage more," he explains.

Attendees might be surprised to find that the sessions aren’t just resume building sessions. "To me it’s more about having a really good conversation with yourself about what you value in a job," Hudson says. "The strategy of successful job seekers is…they research what it is they want to do and know how their backgrounds talents and skills are aligned with what they want to do." As such the resume building part of the sessions are last.

Hudson is holding the bootcamps at Fluid Coffee Bar's Fluid Meeting Spaces March 18, 20, 22 and 26. He plans on hosting additional bootcamps in the summer.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com. 

CannaSearch, the first cannabis job fair, comes to O.penVAPE

On March 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., O.penVAPE is holding CannaSearch, perhaps the first legal cannabis-focussed job fair ever, and you might be surprised by some of the positions the 15 participating companies are interested in filling.

"There are really valuable opportunities available in this growing industry -- no pun intended," says Todd Mitchem, O.penVAPE's Chief Revenue Officer.

"There will be some people looking for obviously cashiers and trimmers," Mitchem admits. But he asserts, “People like us are looking for customer service people. We're looking for a bookkeeper, we need to hire an IT professional. Some of the companies need marketing professionals."

Mitchem explains that the marijuana job fair isn't limited to grow houses, dispensaries and pot shops. "It's everyone from dispensaries to tour companies," he says. "Then we’ll also have our own affiliates, which includes OrganaLabs, the lab that fills our cartridges. It's just a variety of companies across cannabis, not just your usual suspects."

Mitchem anticipates that the participating businesses will hire between 50 and 75 employees. "Some salary and some hourly," he says. "Really it's just a chance for us to connect the industry and connect the job seeker. There are a lot of people who are obviously incredibly interested in our world and want to be a part of it."

Expect similar job fairs every quarter. "The bottom line for us is it’s really time to step up as an industry," Mitchem says. "We're not only going to be generating over $180 million in tax revenue between now and 2015, but we're also creating a workforce and giving people opportunities."

O.penVAPE, which makes vaporizers, is hosting the event at its headquarters at 1058 Delaware St., on Thurs. Mar. 13. The company explains that all participants must be 21 or older. Refreshments will be provided. The company will also award O.penVAPE gear to the first 100 people who submit pictures of themselves at O.penVAPE’s Facebook page.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com. 

Zengo, Richard Sandoval Restaurants find a home in Denver

"From working with the restaurants in Denver, a lot of folks that I work with have related to me that they think the culinary scene has really grown up a lot and is growing exponentially compared to 10 or 15 years ago," says Noah Loudenback, Operations Director for Richard Sandoval Restaurants. "So I think it’s a market where there is a lot of interest -- not just in cuisines but also in jobs in the food industry."

Colorado is the eponymous Richard Sandoval's largest market, and Denver became the restaurateur's international headquarters in 2013. He now has a total of seven restaurants throughout the state, including Zengo in the Central Platte Valley.

According to Loudenback, Denver was Sandoval’s first market outside of New York. "Denver really grasped the Richard Sandoval concepts very well," he contends. "The first location of Zengo was in Denver." Today the company also has Zengo restaurants in Washington, D.C., New York and Santa Monica.

In Denver, he adds, "Zengo’s 10-year anniversary is coming up this week, March 5, which is going to be cooking." The restaurant is co-located with a new tequila bar, La Biblioteca.

Denver also is home to another Sandoval restaurant, Tamayo, which has been around for nine years, and the company also has La Sandia in North Stapleton and four other restaurants throughout Colorado in resort towns.

The concentration of eateries in Colorado is just one reason why the restaurateur chose to relocate his headquarters west from New York last year. "The proximity in terms of being a central location to the rest of the country was attractive when we chose to move to Denver," Loudenback says. Today the company employs 15 people at its offices in RiNo and many more at the seven restaurants in Colorado.

The restaurants continue to innovate as well. Though Zengo has four locations for instance, no two menus are the same.

"Most of the creative culinary side is going to be at the restaurants," Loudenback says. "We like to have a least a few dishes that are unique to each location. We don't like it to be entirely cookie-cutter...especially when we have these concepts where we have a full-time executive chef on site. We've always felt like it’s a big part of our strength to having somebody of that level of ability to have a little more creativity."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com. 
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